Confirmed victory

Secretary Clinton: Publicly Support Saudi Women's Right to Drive

Dear Secretary Clinton

We are leading Saudi Women’s rights activists and we write this open letter - endorsed by thousands of United States citizens - to express our deep concern over the US government's public silence on the issue of Saudi women's right to drive.

Saudi Arabia, one of the strongest and longest standing US allies in the Middle East, is also the only country on earth where women are not allowed to drive, or even ride a bicycle, often dubbed ‘the world's largest women's prison’. As Saudi women our lack of freedom of movement places an extreme burden on our lives. We lack a public transportation system and the most basic errands and medical appointments are missed due to the difficulty and expenses of arranging transportation, notwithstanding educational and work opportunities. Many from our religious establishment openly state that the reason they prohibit women from driving is to keep women at home and in need of men. Our lack of this basic right to drive our own cars has been repeatedly exploited by abusive fathers, brothers, husbands and even hired drivers. Just this week a Saudi woman reported she was raped by her driver.

On May 22, 2011, a Saudi technology consultant and mother named Manal al-Sharif was arrested for driving her own car. Unable to find a safe and reliable driver, she was fed up and decided to take a stand not just for herself but for Saudi women across this country. Over the past few days, more than 50,000 people from 156 countries around the world have joined our campaigns calling for Manal to be released and acquitted of all charges. Manal's activism has also led to copycat incidents, with women all over the country posting videos of themselves driving. As momentum grows, we are calling for women across Saudi Arabia to begin driving openly and en masse on June 17. In the context of the Arab Spring and US commitments to support nonviolent movements for democracy, now is the time for US leaders to show their support for Saudi women's rights.

We were encouraged to see media reports that US diplomats have quietly pressured the Saudi government to give women the right to drive... But given the recent arrests of women trying to drive, now is the time for the US to show its muscle and make that pressure public.

We write to ask that you make a public statement supporting Saudi women's right to drive. We do not make this request lightly, but we believe that you making a public statement of support for Saudi Arabia opening the country's roads to women would be a game changing moment.

Secretary Clinton, you are a friend. Indeed, some of us have met you personally during your decades-long journey as a champion of women’s rights all over the world.  Now, as we build the largest Saudi women's protest movement in decades, we need your help.

God bless you.

Saudi Women for Driving (سعوديات يطالبن بالقيادة)

This petition was delivered to:
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary, State Department
    Janet Ann Sanderson
  • Chief of Staff, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    Cheryl Mills
  • Chief of Staff, Office of Policy Planning
    Janey Wright
  • Deputy Director, Office of Press Relations
    Julie Reside
  • Senior Advisor on Development, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    Steve Radelet
  • Chief Speechwriter and Policy Advisor, Office of Policy Planning
    Josh Daniel
  • Press Officer, Department of State
    Andrew J Laine
  • Personal Assistant, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    Claire Coleman
  • Deputy Director, State Department Office of Human Rights
    Cari Enav
  • International Officer, State Department Office of Human Rights
    Dara Duncan-Lira
  • White House Liason, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    Steven Diminuco
  • Near East Specialist and Senior Policy Advisor, State Department GWI Office
    Diane E. Kelly
  • Womens Affairs Officer, State Department Office of Human Rights
    Linda Lum
  • Deputy Secretary of State
    James Braidy Steinberg
  • Director, Office of Press Relations
    Mark C. Toner
  • Deputy Director, Office of Policy Planning
    Edward Lacey
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
    Philippe I. Reines
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
    Melanne Verveer
  • Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    William Joseph Burns
  • Senior Advisor, State Department Office of Global Women's Issues
    Steven Steiner
  • Executive Assistant, State Department Office of Global Women's Issues
    Valerie Patricia Keitt
  • Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    Michael Hoffman Posner
  • Public Affairs Advisor, State Department GWI Office
    Nicole R Conn
  • Director, State Department Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs
    Andrew Steinfeld
  • Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs
    Jeffrey T Feltman
  • Deputy Director, State Department Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs
    Linda Specht
  • Director, Office of Policy Planning
    Anne-Marie Slaughter
  • Country Officer, State Department Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs
    Josh Harris
  • Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy Planning
    Derek Chollet
  • Test


Saudi Women for Driving سعوديات يطالبن بالقيادة started this petition with a single signature, and won with 22,953 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.